The Library of History

Page 195

Page 195 Besides these, there's another large Island about Thirty Furlongs distance from this last mention'd, lying to the East many Furlongs in length. For they say, from a Promontory thereof running out towards the East, may be seen India like a Cloud in the Air, the distance is so great.

There are many things observable in Panchaea, that deserve to be taken notice of. The natural Inhabitants are those they call Panchaei; the Strangers that dwell among them are * People of the Western Parts, together with Indians, Cretians, and Scythians. In this Island there's a Famous City, call'd Panara, not inferior to any for Wealth and Grandure. The Citizens are call'd the Suppliants of Jupiter Triphylius, and are the only People of Panchaea, that are govern'd by a Democracy, without a Monarch. They choose every Year the Presidents or Governors, that have all Matters under their Cognizance, but what concerns Life and Death; and the most weighty Matters they refer to the College of their Priests. The Temple of Jupiter Triphylius is about Sixty Furlongs distant from the City, in a Champain Plain. It's in great veneration because of it's Antiquity and the Stateliness of the Structure, and the Fertility of the Soyl.

The Fields round about the Temple are Planted with all sorts of Trees, not only for Fruit, but for Pleasure and Delight; for they abound with tall Cypresses Plane-Trees, Laurels and Myrtles, the Place abounding with Fountains of running Water: For near the Temple there's such a mighty Spring of sweet Water rushes out of the Earth, as that it becomes a Navigable River: Thence it divides it self into several Currents and Streams, and Waters all the Fields thereabouts, and produces thick Groves of tall and shady Trees; amongst which in Summer abundance of People spend their time, and a multitude of Birds of all sorts build their Nests, which create great delight both by affecting the Eye with the variety of their Colours, and taking the Ear with the sweetness of their Notes. Here are many Gardens, sweet and pleasant Meadows deckt with all sorts of Herbs and Flowers, and so glorious is the Prospect, that it seems to be a Paradise worthy the Habitation of the Gods themselves.

There are here likewise large and Fruitful Palms, and abundance of Walnut-Trees, which plentifully Furnish the Inhabitants with pleasant Nuts.

Besides all these, there are a multitude of Vines of all sorts, spiring up on high, and so curiously interwoven one amongst another, that they are exceeding pleasant to the view, and greatly advance the delights of the Place.

The Temple was built of White Marble, most artificially joynted and cemented, two Hundred Yards in length, and as many in breadth, supported with great and thick Pillars, curiously adorn'd with with Carved Work. In this Temple are plac'd huge Statues of the Gods, of admirable Workmanship, and amazing largeness. Round the Temple are built Apartments for the Priests that attend the Service of the Gods, by whom every thing in that Sacred Place is perform'd. All along from the Temple, is an even course of Ground, Four Furlongs in length, and a Hundred Yards in breadth; on either side of which, are erected vast Brazen Statues, with Four-square Pedestals; at the end of the Course, breaks forth the River from the Fountains before-mention'd, from whence flows most clear and sweet Water, the drinking of which, conduces much to the Health of the Body. This River is call'd the Water of the Sun.

The whole Fountain is lin'd on both sides, and flag'd at the bottom with Stone at vast Expence, and runs out on both sides for the space of Four Furlongs. It's not lawful for any but the Priests to approach to the brink of the Fountain. All the Land about for Two Hundred Furlongs round, is consecrated to the Gods, and the Revenues bestow'd in maintaining the publick Sacrifices, and Service of the Gods: Beyond these consecrated Lands, is an high Mountain, dedicated likewise to the Gods, which they call the Throne of Celus and Triphylius Olympus; for they report that Ʋranus, when he govern'd the whole World, pleasantly diverted himself in this Place; and from the top of the Mount observ'd the motion of the Heavens and Stars, and that he was call'd Triphylius Olympus, because the Inhabitants were compos'd of Three several Nations, Panchaeans, Oceanites and Doians, who were afterwards expell'd by Ammon; for it's said that he not only rooted out this Nation, but utterly destroy'd all their Cities, and laid Doia and Asterusia even with the Ground. The Priests every Year solemnize a Sacred Festival in this Mountain, with great Devotion.

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books